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Field Notes: September 2010 -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Field Notes: September 2010

Perspectives from around Habitat's world

Women Build draws national support



Bestselling author and Women Build volunteer Julie Edelman. Photo by Steffan Hacker


In May, the third annual National Women Build Week, sponsored by Lowe’s, challenged women to devote at least one day to Habitat for Humanity’s mission.

Joining more than 8,600 women volunteers at more than 200 Habitat sites across the United States were: New York Times bestselling author Julie Edelman, joining New Jersey’s Paterson Habitat; Grammy Award-winning gospel recording artist and radio morning show host Yolanda Adams, supporting Houston Habitat; 2008 Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin, building with women volunteers from Habitat Grayson County in Sherman, Texas; and actresses Emily Bergl and Taylor Schilling, building in partnership with Habitat New York City. A number of women in state and local government, business and industry, and service organizations participated throughout the week as well.

Edelman, pictured above, built walls in partnership with Dematia Watson, a single mother of two. Watson’s 26-year-old son has massive neurological damage as a result of an auto accident many years ago. The Watsons’ new home will be a handicapped-accessible condo unit constructed predominantly by women volunteers.

National Women Build Week is an initiative of Habitat’s Women Build program, which recruits, educates and nurtures women to build and advocate for simple, decent and affordable houses in their communities.

To learn more about the Women Build program, visit

Strengthening neighborhoods: Habitat partnership will help communities hit by U.S. foreclosure crisis

Habitat for Humanity International and the National Community Stabilization Trust have announced a new national partnership to help turn foreclosed and abandoned houses into affordable Habitat homes.

Through the Stabilization Trust’s national Property Acquisition Program, the two-year partnership will give designated Habitat affiliates the opportunity to purchase foreclosed and abandoned properties from participating financial institutions on a “first-look” basis, before the properties are broadly marketed and listed for open sale.

Habitat will then renovate and rehabilitate these homes. The program will include Habitat affiliates participating in the organization’s Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. To carry out the renovation, many affiliates will use funding from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Habitat will work through the Stabilization Trust to purchase and renovate hundreds of homes in distressed neighborhoods throughout 2010 and 2011.

“This partnership is a crucial element in our efforts to revitalize communities across the U.S.,” says Habitat CEO Jonathan Reckford. “Repairing and returning foreclosed or abandoned properties to the affordable housing stock provides Habitat for Humanity more opportunities to improve the quality of life for families and create thriving communities that are safe and inviting places in which to live.”

The Stabilization Trust’s goal is to promote the revitalization of distressed neighborhoods through the productive reuse of these properties so that they are returned to the stock of ownership and rental housing available primarily for low- and moderate-income families.

“As we expand community access to foreclosed and abandoned properties, it is very important that the Stabilization Trust joins forces with a nonprofit leader like Habitat, a national supplier of affordable housing with a proven track record of success at the grassroots level in generating new and renovated homes in partnership with families,” says Craig S. Nickerson, president of the National Community Stabilization Trust.

The partnership is made possible by the Citi Foundation, which has supported Habitat initiatives for more than 10 years.

Habitat named no. 8 on the ‘Builder 100’ list



Photo by Steffan Hacker


Habitat for Humanity International achieved the rank of No. 8 on the Builder 100 list, marking the first time the organization has been among the top 10 biggest builders in the United States. Habitat earned its spot with 5,294 house closings. The 2009 list elevates Habitat three spots, up from its 2008 ranking of No. 11.

“Habitat for Humanity has been working in the U.S. to ensure that more than 5,200 families had a new or renovated affordable home to live in last year,” says Mark Andrews, Habitat’s senior director of U.S. operations. “We could not have accomplished this work without the sustained support of our volunteers and donors.”

magazine’s annual Builder 100 list compiles data provided by U.S. builders.

Also in 2009, Habitat affiliates repaired 710 homes nationwide, up from 621 homes in 2008. Around the world, Habitat helped 61,005 low-income families by building 23,657 new houses and rehabilitating or repairing 37,348 houses.